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Singapore collaborating with Jiangsu to drive opportunities for Singapore companies in trade, professional services, innovation and urban renewal

Collaboration in the areas of professional services, innovation and urban renewal, which would enable Singapore companies stand to capture greater trade flows and opportunities, were discussed at the 11th Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC [1]) meeting in Suzhou, Jiangsu province today. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance with Mr. Wu Zhenglong, Jiangsu Governor. The Vice Co-Chairmen Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Trade and Industry & National Development, and Mr. Chen Zhenning, Jiangsu Vice Governor, were also present.

Jiangsu is the biggest economy in east China, with its GDP reaching S$1.56 trillion (RMB7.61 trillion) at 7.8% growth in 2016. The province is currently focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and active reforms to drive growth. As the BRI catalyses the internationalisation of Jiangsu enterprises into Southeast Asia, there are opportunities for Singapore professional services companies to offer their expertise and established regional networks.

Singapore and Jiangsu will focus on driving technology innovation, incubation and commercialisation cooperation. This enables Singapore tech companies and start-ups to access the vibrant innovation ecosystem in Jiangsu and China, to address opportunities in the market and/or to find tech partners.

NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore and NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute (NUSRI) is launching BLOCK71 Suzhou today, to help Singapore companies and start-ups access the innovation ecosystem in Jiangsu.

BLOCK71 is a technology startup hub in Singapore. BLOCK71 Suzhou will act as an ecosystem builder and global connector for catalysing and aggregating the start-up community, providing entrepreneurs and tech startups from Singapore and China with ready co-working spaces. It will also provide support in exploring business opportunities in China and beyond, connecting them to other start-ups, mentors, networks and resources. This initiative is aligned to the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA). The GIA, which was announced in the Budget 2017 speech, aims to help Singaporean workers gain overseas experience, build international networks and create opportunities to collaborate with innovative overseas counterparts.

BLOCK71 will also be expanded to a second location in Q2 2018, made possible in partnership with Ascendas-Singbridge.

Global eTrade Services (GeTS), a wholly owned subsidiary of CrimsonLogic, which acts as a single window that connects to various foreign businesses and government agencies,  is working with the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) to simplify the trade declaration process, making it easier for exporters to trade with Jiangsu. For this, GeTS is collaborating with Suzhou Cross-E-Commerce Co. Ltd, the provider of SIP’s Single Trade Window, to link up their systems. This will save time and cost as both Singapore and Suzhou exporters and importers can map their trade declaration data to the other counterpart country’s declaration requirement more accurately. This makes trade between Singapore and Jiangsu and from Jiangsu to other countries connected to GeTS, more seamless and efficient for trade.

Singapore professional services players can also leverage platforms like the National-level Outbound Investment Platform in SIP to provide support for Jiangsu companies. Law firm, Rajah & Tann, and provider of corporate services, Boardroom, are among firms that have been offering professional services to Jiangsu enterprises for their expansion overseas.

In addition, there are opportunities for Singapore companies to partner Jiangsu companies in urban renewal as Jiangsu develops “Special Characteristics Townships”.

Jiangsu is developing sub-urban areas to grow niche industries and looking to tap into its cultural/historical assets while preserving them. Building on the successful unveiling of the Suzhou Center in SIP on 11 November 2017, CapitaLand indicated during the SJCC meeting today that it is exploring to participate in the development of “Special Characteristics Townships” in Jiangsu province. The GIA aims to strengthen linkages and partnerships with leading innovation hubs around the world, increasing access and opportunities for Singapore students and enterprises.

Minister Heng said, “The Belt and Road Initiative will drive trade and economic cooperation, and catalyse the internationalisation of Chinese enterprises. This brings potential for us to increase trade flows, and for Singapore and Jiangsu enterprises to jointly expand into Southeast Asia. There is also room to work together in innovation and technology partnerships as both Singapore and Jiangsu place greater focus on innovation and R&D efforts to transform our economies and to drive growth.”

[1] Established in 2007, the SJCC drives trade and investment opportunities between Singapore and Jiangsu. Jiangsu is the top provincial investment destination for Singapore companies in China, with Singapore’s cumulative investments into Jiangsu reaching over S$36.8 billion (US$27.1 billion) as of end-September 2017. Singapore-Jiangsu trade currently accounts for about 10% of Singapore-China trade, rising 13.2% year-on-year to reach S$11 billion (US$8.1 billion) in the first three quarters of 2017.

The SJCC is supported by International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore), secretariat of the SJCC. IE Singapore is the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies to go global. The agency has adopted an approach to engage with governments more deeply at the provincial/city level, as seen from recent collaborations with the governments of Sichuan and Guangzhou provinces in China and Gyeonggi province in Korea.) 

Featured image: Christian Gänshirt/ CC BY-SA 4.0

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